Alfred Luger

November 14, 2023

We know start-ups can fail

Entrepreneurship is a continuous storm. A neverending rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. From the initial business idea to the market launch of a first “minimal viable product“, it gets more challenging each day. From funding to team building  to customer acquisition – it’s a rocky road.

Uncertainty is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges for founders and investors, especially in the early-stages. Contrary to popular belief that the biggest risk is a product not being accepted in the market, we at Calm/Storm believe that the biggest challenge is the founding team.

We’ve seen start-ups fail, and expect more to fail, including some of those in our portfolio. It’s especially important to talk openly about the risk of failure at the super-early-stage of a start-up. Numerous factors can cause the ship to sink in a short space of time, even when it appears to be sailing in calm waters. For example, the sudden death of a CEO due to COVID-19, or a burnedout founder who simply cannot continue – serious founder conflicts that can tear start-ups apart.

From an investor’s perspective, investing in super early-stage start-ups not only offers the potential for enormously high returns, but is also extremely high risk. Even with the best due diligence, the future cannot be predicted, and the failure rate is high. Investments in these types of companies should only be made professionally, with sufficient capital and with the right portfolio size. Statistically, there should be at least 60 investments in an early-stage portfolio.

Our Supporting Partners are experienced startup founders and investors who have been involved in many of these challenges themselves. They pass on this invaluable experience experience to our portfolio founders.

Alfred Luger

Board Partner